Tag: Kennys Vargas

Twins Daily

Twins calling up top prospect Miguel Sano for MLB debut


There’s no official announcement yet, but Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com reports that the Twins are calling up third base prospect Miguel Sano from Double-A for his MLB debut.

Following this afternoon’s game the Twins demoted first baseman/designated hitter Kennys Vargas to the minors for the second time this season. His last demotion was to Triple-A, but this time they sent Vargas to Double-A. No corresponding move was announced, but Sano is not in the Double-A Chattanooga lineup tonight.

Sano missed all of last season following Tommy John elbow surgery and got off to a slow start this year, but over his last 50 games he’s hit .310 with 12 homers and a 1.002 OPS. Few prospects in baseball have more power potential than the 6-foot-5, 260-pound Sano and slotting the 22-year-old into the DH spot initially would allow him to simply focus on offensive production.

Despite missing all of last year Sano came into this season as a top-20 prospect according to Baseball America, MLB.com, and Baseball Prospectus.

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

Maikel Franco


Phillies 11, Yankees 8: A bright spot for the Phillies in this otherwise dark year: Maikel Franco. A prospect who’s actually young (22) and not just young for the Phillies. A prospect who’s good and not just good for the Phillies. And, last night, a prospect who broke the hell out, going 4-for-5 with two homers and five driven in. He also did this:


Franco is hitting .312/.353/.574 with nine homers and 24 driven in in his 36 games. One of the great things about baseball: even when things are at their worst, there is the chance to see hope for the future.

Royals 4, Mariners 1: Have you ever said a nonsense sentence just for the sake of hearing it and for the sake of thinking “no one in the history of the world has EVER said this”?  I do that sometimes. Like, I’ll just be driving down the road and I’ll say something like “Don’t ride your bicycle into the paella, Marie Curie, for there are Bigfoots in it!” Really, in a thousand years of English, no one has EVER said that. It’s a neat and nerdy little game to play! Here, let’s do another one: “Joe Blanton outdueled Felix Hernandez.”

Angels 4, Astros 3: Yet another guy with two homers last night: Albert Pujols. Who now has 23 on the year — on pace for 52 — and a line of .275/.336/.581. Report/death/exaggerated. The fireworks notwithstanding, the Erick Aybar and Angels scored the go-ahead run on a safety squeeze. But man, Aybar probably should’ve been out. Watch the play and ask yourself what in the hell Chris Carter is doing throwing a shovel pass home like this:


Fielding is fundamental.


Tigers 8, Indians 5: The Tigers own the Indians, particularly at Progressive Field. Ownership continued last night, with Yoenis Cespedes homering and driving in three. Miguel Cabrera singled twice and walked twice, once with the bases loaded. He’s 24-for-37 with five homers and 16 RBI against the Indians this year.

Blue Jays 8, Rays 5: Drew Hutchison wasn’t great — three runs and nine hits over five innings — but it was enough on a night when he got some good run support. Asdrubal Cabrera had an interesting night too, tossing his bat and helmet out on the field after getting ejected. Which were then confiscated by Joe West for some reason. Which is not a thing I’ve ever seen, but it’s Joe West and he’s his own man.


Oh, and at one point in this game some of the lights in Tropicana Field went out for no reason. Because Tropicana Field.

Twins 13, White Sox 2: Kennys Vargas went 4-for-4 with a three-run homer and four RBI and Byron Buxton had three hits and scored three times hitting at the top of the order as God and Gleeman intended. Joe Mauer and Brian Dozier homered too, as the Twins romped.

Cubs 4, Dodgers 2: Two homers for Kris Bryant, one of which came off of a Clayton Kershaw curve ball. Six Cubs pitchers combined to stymie the Dodgers.


And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

John Lackey

Cardinals 4, Brewers 0: John Lackey was fantastic, tossing seven scoreless innings, allowing five hits and striking out eight. He’s also making $500K this year because of that farkakte contract he signed with the Red Sox way back when. St. Louis’ gain, I suppose. And if Lackey keeps pitching like this, his gain this coming offseason when he signs a new deal.

Twins 8, Royals 5: Kennys Vargas was better than Jason Vargas on this day. They’re not related but I sort of wish they were so that we could invent some crazy family backstory here, but alas. Anyway, Kennys and Kurt Suzuki each hit two-run homers as the Twins win again.

Nationals 5, Phillies 2: The Phillies can shuffle their lineup all they want — Howard batting seventh, Frenchy cleaning up — and it’s not going to matter much given that they don’t have any hitters who can do a dang thing against decent pitching this year. And here Doug Fister was more than decent, allowing two runs — only one of them earned — while pitching into the seventh. Cole Hamels have up five runs in six innings, but really, he and all other Phillies pitchers are going to have to be close to perfect this year.

Rays 4, Blue Jays 2: Chris Archer struck out 11 and allowed only two hits in seven shutout innings. Steven Souza did not hit a monstrous, 450-foot or so home run last night. I wonder what’s wrong with him?

Mets 7, Marlins 5: New York spotted the Marlins three runs — one of them on Giancarlo Stanton’s first dinger of the year —  but no worries. Lucas Duda had three hits. Wilmer Flores had a three-run shot. There was a replay challenge that lasted six minutes, so that was fun, but after the game Travis d’Arnaud admitted that the replay officials got it right.

Diamondbacks 7,  Giants 6: Aaron Hill hit a two-run double with two outs in the 12th to put the Snakes ahead. The Giants have lost seven straight.

VIDEO: Kennys Vargas hit a laser beam of a home run today

Kansas City Royals v Minnesota Twins

In a battle of the Vargases (Vargi?) earlier today, Kennys Vargas of the Twins was the undisputed winner against Royals left-hander Jason Vargas. Check out this laser beam of a home run. Don’t blink or you might miss it:

That one got out of there in a hurry. In fact, the exit velocity on the ball was 113 mph. Andrew Ettel, coordinator of baseball research for the Twins, notes that it was one of the three hardest tracked home runs in MLB so far this season. I believe it.

Vargas, a 24-year-old switch-hitter, batted .274/.316/.456 with nine home runs and 38 RBI in 53 games as a rookie last season. Today’s home run was his first of 2015.

2015 Preview: Minnesota Twins

Paul Molitor

Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2015 season. Next up: The Minnesota Twins.

The Big Question: Are we there yet?

Minnesota collapsed in 2011 and hasn’t recovered yet, losing 99, 96, 96, and 92 games during the past four seasons. Among all MLB teams over that span only the Astros had fewer wins, 25 teams won at least 35 more games than the Twins, and their AL Central rival Tigers won 101 more games.

The lone benefit of all that losing is being able to stockpile prospects through the draft and trades, and the Twins have done that very well. Led by Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano, their farm system is considered one of the 3-4 best in baseball and several of the highest-upside prospects are on the verge of the majors. Partly because of that and partly because fan morale and season ticket sales have plummeted the Twins spent the offseason trying to convince everyone that they’re ready to take a big step forward in 2015.

Terry Ryan, the Twins’ general manager for 17 total seasons in two stints, fired Ron Gardenhire after 13 seasons as manager, replacing him with Minnesota-born Hall of Famer Paul Molitor despite his complete lack of managing experience. They handed out the biggest free agent contract in team history in the form of a four-year, $54 million deal to Ervin Santana, losing a second-round draft pick in the process. And they brought back Torii Hunter for a reunion, spending $10 million on the 39-year-old former Twins star.

All spring Molitor, Ryan and the rest of the front office, and even Twins owner Jim Pohlad haven’t been shy about saying they think this is much improved team that has the potential to emerge as a playoff contender, but no one outside of Minnesota seems to agree. Nearly every national season preview, every statistical projection system, and every Las Vegas odds-maker pegs the Twins for last place and fewer than 75 wins, with several prominent sources predicting they’ll lose 90-plus games for a fifth year in a row.

For all the talk of the Twins’ great farm system the Opening Day roster looks likely to have just four players who’re 25 years old or younger: Designated hitter Kennys Vargas, shortstop Danny Santana, left fielder Oswaldo Arcia, and Rule 5 pick J.R. Graham. There were plenty of opportunities for the Twins to fill the roster with more youth and upside, but instead they frustratingly decided to give almost every roster spot that was up for competition to a mediocre veteran.

The starting rotation is made up of pitchers aged 33, 32, 29, 28, and 27. The bullpen is built around a 32-year-old closer (Glen Perkins, who’s very good) and his primary setup men are 33, 32, and 31. Santana, Arcia, and Vargas give the lineup some much-needed youth, but the other six regulars are 39, 32, 31, 29, 28, and 28. This is not a young team by any reasonable definition of the word and, based on both the numbers and the opinions of baseball experts, it’s also not a good team.

When the current rebuilding plan was put in motion in mid-2012 or so the idea was that the Twins would be competitive by now, but thanks to injuries several of the team’s best prospects had their promotion timetables pushed back and thanks to some questionable front office decision-making the roster that’s waiting for their delayed arrivals doesn’t look a whole lot better than what Twins fans have been watching (and increasingly not watching) for the past four years. So no, we’re not there yet. Keep driving.

What else is going on?

  • Phil Hughes deserves recognition for his exceptional, historic 2014 season, especially since it came after his value bottomed out with the Yankees and he had to settle for a three-year, $24 million deal with the Twins last winter. Hughes logged 210 innings with a 3.52 ERA, racking up 186 strikeouts versus 16 walks for the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the history of baseball. Seriously. Minnesota was 20-12 when Hughes started and 50-80 with anyone else on the mound and this offseason the Twins tacked on another three seasons and $42 million to his deal.
  • For a franchise starved for long-term shortstop help Danny Santana hitting .319 as a 23-year-old rookie was one of the few bright spots last season. However, his rookie success was built on an unsustainably great .405 batting average on balls in play and in the minors Santana had an OPS below .725 at Single-A, Double-A, and Triple-A. He has plenty of raw talent and was pushed aggressively, so the mediocre minor-league numbers don’t mean he lacks upside, but there’s a very real chance Santana turns back into a pumpkin–or at least back into a solid but unspectacular player.
  • Awful, strikeout-phobic pitching was the biggest reason for the Twins’ collapse, but the deterioration of a once-strong defense played an overlooked role as well. In particular the outfield defense has been a disaster in recent years. Arcia is a mistake-prone plodder in left field and Hunter, while once a great center fielder, is now a bad right fielder who ranked as one of the worst outfielders in baseball last year according to advanced defensive metrics. In other words, expect to continue seeing Twins pitchers give up lots of extra-base hits into the gaps as people wonder why the run prevention hasn’t improved as much as hoped.
  • Twins fans seem destined for another long year at Target Field, but here’s the silver lining: By midseason it’s possible that as many as a half-dozen of the team’s top 10 prospects could be in Minnesota, including Buxton in center field, Sano joining Arcia and Vargas in the middle of the lineup, Alex Meyer, Jose Berrios, and Trevor May in the rotation, and Nick Burdi hitting triple-digits out of the bullpen. There’s a lot of losing to sit through and a lot of veteran mediocrity to clear off the roster before then, but there’s also light at the end of the tunnel.

Prediction: Last place, but fewer than 90 losses for the first time since 2010 and some actual excitement in the second half.